Year 2008

Sea fog rolling in against the north Devon coast on a hot June day
Summary for 2008

Winter: Carrying on from the previous year, 2008 continued a theme of refusing to conform. After a cooler than average December both January and February got the year off to a very warm start. Unusually for a warm winter month, February turned out to be very dry (25 mm) and sunny with over 135 hours of sunshine, which was more than August. During January there was a consecutive period of warmth from 07:45 on the 18th to 20:00 on the 21st when temperatures did not fall below 10.0C, a total of 84.3 hours.

Spring: Things cooled slightly relative to the average temperature by the time March arrived with this month ending up with less sunshine than February and was only 0.1C warmer than January. The sunshine returned in April and the first 17 days were very sunny with an average of 8.3 hours a day. But after a few days of spring warmth at the beginning of April, temperatures took a nose-dive from the 6th to the 19th as cold northerlies and easterlies set in bringing the first observed snow falling in over 2 years. By the end of the month temperatures had recovered and this led into a warm, wet but sunny May with a run of remarkably warm to hot days from the 3rd to the 14th, with an average daily maximum temperature for that period of 23.0C. What turned out to be the hottest day of the year occurred on the 11th with a max of 27.9C and on this day I had my earliest ever 'no wetsuit required' swim in the sea. I remember thinking how fantastically warm it was, and the summer had not even started; little did I realise that WAS our summer!

Summer: Weatherwise, June was easily the best month of the summer with dry and sunny weather dominating throughout but except for a short 'hot' spell from the 8th - 10th, the temperatures remained stubbornly in the high teens or low 20s with plenty of cool nights. July was a month of two halves with the first half being very wet (90.8 mm); cool (mean 15.6C) and cloudy (72 hours of sun). Whilst the second half was drier (22.1 mm); warmer (mean 18.1C) and sunnier (116 hours of sun). The last week of the month also had a run of very warm nights and was the only really summer-like weather of that season. August was a horrible month being wet, cold and dull. On the 13th the maximum day temperature only reached 15.4C which was the coldest August day I have ever recorded. The month as a whole was a complete write-off and ended what was yet another disappointing summer.

Autumn: The unsettled theme carried on into the autumn with September being generally cloudy for the first 2 weeks and an absence of any warm days. Things improved with a settled and sunny spell from the 18th - 29th. October started cool and wet but soon became settled, sunny and warm. This settled spell lasted until the 3rd week. No rain fell from the 8th to the 19th but afterwards it became fairly wet with rain on most days, though not large amounts. It also became cooler and the month ended cold and stormy with an exceptional hailstorm (now locally known as the 'Great Ottery Hailstorm') in the early hours of the 30th. November had a cool and wet start but soon became much warmer and the warmth lasted until the final week of the month when there were a few air frosts at night. A little wetter than normal and sunshine levels were just a little below average. Quite dull around mid-month but the 3rd week was sunny and settled.

2007 & 2008 Comparisons: 2008 was a little wetter (+121 mm), just slightly sunnier (+15 hours) and only 0.1C colder. Regarding the number of air frosts (+3), thunder (+2) and sunless days (+6), things were also very similar

Summary 2008
Mean Max 14.9C  
Mean Min 7.2C  
Mean 11.1C  
High Max 27.9C 11th May
Low Max 0.4C 31st Dec
High Min 17.2C 30th Aug
Low Min -4.1C 31st Dec
Mean Grass Min: 4.8C  
Grass Min: -7.5C 17th Feb
Rain Total (gauge) 1022.8 mm  
Rain Total (tipping bucket) 1008.6 mm  
Rain Days >0.2 182 Days  
Rain Days >1.0 129 Days  
Max 24 hrs 70.8 mm 30th Oct
Air Frost 27 Days  
Ground Frost: 89 Days  
Snow Falling 1 Days 6th Apr
Snow (50%) @ 9am 0 Days  
Thunder Heard 16 Days  
Hail <5 mm 9 Days  
Hail >5 mm 1 Days 1st May
Fog @ 9am 3 Days  
Total Monthly Sunshine: 1738h:22m  
Most Sunshine in a Day: 14.9 Hours 27th Jul
Average Daily Sunshine: 4.7 Hours  
Sunless Days: 34 Days  
Cloudless Days: 42 Days  
Total Possible Sunshine: 4463h:25m  
Percentage of Total Sun: 39%  
Mean Soil Temp @ 30 cm: 10.9C  
Min Soil Temp @ 30 cm: 1.7C 31st Dec
Max Soil Temp @ 30 cm: 18.8C 28th Jul
Mean Soil Temp @ 100 cm: 10.8C  
Min Soil Temp @ 100 cm: 5.7C 31st Dec
Max Soil Temp @ 100 cm: 16.0C 28th Jul
Wind >39 mph 9.0 Days  
N 29.9 Days  
NE 39.0 Days  
E 27.3 Days  
SE 34.5 Days  
S 56.4 Days  
SW 45.9 Days  
W 67.1 Days  
NW 41.0 Days  
Calm 24.0 Days  
Mean Wind 4 mph  
Max Gust 58 mph 10th Mar
Mean Cloud Cover: 52%  
Mean RH @ 9am: 87%  
Rain Duration >0.1mm/hour: 497.8 Hours  
Frost Duration: 204.8 Hours  
Max Frost Duration in a Day: 22.0 Hours 11th Dec
Mean Sea Temperature: 12.7C  
Normal for Month:    
Max Sea Temperature: 18.9C 7th Aug
Min Sea Temperature: 7.9C 31st Dec
Mean Pressure 1014 hPa  
Max Pressure 1041 hPa 16th Feb
Min Pressure 961 hPa 10th Mar
Max Dewpoint: 17.0C 28th Jul
Min Dewpoint: -7.5C 31st Dec
Mean Dewpoint: 6.4C  
Max Humidity: 100%  
Min Humidity: 37% 27th Jul
Mean Humidity: 76%  
2008 was slightly warmer than the long-term average. The Met Office ranked the year as the 10th warmest ever recorded.
Overall it was a wetter than average year, though the first 6 months were, on the whole drier than normal, the second half was very wet in all months except December which had just average rainfall.
There was a high number of ground frosts and this was due to lot of nights with calm, clear and starry conditions. This also led to a higher than average number frosts.
Sunshine levels were slightly below the long-term average, and levels in July and August were particularly disappointing.
Soil temperatures started the year well above normal but gradually through the late summer and into the autumn they dropped below the average.
It was not a particularly windy year but there was a notable storm on the 10th of March. This was the only real gale. Winds dominated from the usual westerly sector though winds from the north-east were rather more common than the average.
This was a frostier year than 2007, but not exceptionally so.
Sea temperatures were generally around or slightly below average, especially during the latter half of the summer and into the autumn.
Pressure reached a station record low on Mar 10th. Overall pressure was below the LTA and is indicative of the unsettled nature of this year.
Dewpoints failed to reach their normal highs during the summer and overall were below normal.
Humidity was below normal despite this being a wet year.
Figure 1. Temperature and Rainfall for 2008.
Figure 2. Sunshine, air pressure and maximum air temperature for 2008.
Figure 3. Wind direction for 2008.
Figure 4. Soil & sea surface temperature (SST) for Lyme Bay for 2008.
Figure 5. Wind run, and mean pressure for 2008.